The Harford County Lions Clubs recently partnered with Brooms Bloom Dairy in Bel Air to offer a free Christmas model train garden open on weekends through the holiday season. Members from several Lions Clubs came together and assembled a new train display in the building that formerly held Christopher’s Train Garden at the dairy.
The train garden officially opened Nov. 25 with a ribbon cutting where incoming County Executive Robert Cassilly did the honors before touring the space with his grandchildren. Ray Cooper, father of Christopher Cooper, who the original train garden was named in memory of, took a minute to thank those involved in the project from its origin in 2008 to the current train garden.
Christopher Cooper, a Harford County teen who loved trains, died in November 2007 at age 15 from a medical condition. His family set up and operated the holiday display for more than a decade.
“We had a lot happiness, a lot of smiles,” Cooper said standing before the small group gathered just outside the building. “We’re very grateful to the Dallam family and the community for allowing Christopher’s Train Garden to exist when it was here, and we’re very happy to see the tradition continue on from this point and see the Lions Clubs keep it going.”
There are nine Lions Clubs serving Harford County including Churchville, Bel Air, Darlington, Aberdeen, Joppatowne, Edgewood, Fallston and Jarrettsville.
“Lions Clubs do many unique services in their individual communities but this is a joint effort across the county” said Fred Gunther, member of the Churchville Lions Club, who led the effort. “It’s a great family opportunity and of course to perhaps enjoy meals or snacks at the Brooms Bloom Dairy.”
While the train garden has just opened, Lions Club members are hoping to eventually offer more of a sensory experience for blind or sight-impaired individuals.
The Lions provide many services to the Harford community each year including sight and hearing conservation services, support to many youth programs, medical items lending closets, tackling food insecurity; and support to local groups and activities including events like the Darlington Apple Festival and the Bel Air Police Children’s Safety Day each year.
The garden will be open each weekend Friday-Sunday from 11-5 p.m. through Dec. 18, at 1700 S. Fountain Green Road in Bel Air.